Deaf Characters  in   Comics   , Graphic Novels ,   and   Adolescent Literature Sharon Pajka-West, Ph.D.
Goals: <ul><li>To give an overview of my research study on Deaf Characters in Comics & Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>To...
Research Questions: <ul><li>Are deaf characters being presented as culturally Deaf characters or as pathologically deaf an...
Problem <ul><li>Acquiring fictional books with deaf characters can be time-consuming and challenging.  </li></ul><ul><li>F...
Research on the portrayals of deaf characters <ul><li>Lack of attention to the topic (Civiletto & Schirmer, 2000). </li></...
Influential Research:  Literature Pertaining to Diversity and Multiculturalism in Adolescent Fiction <ul><li>Despite decad...
Authentic Literature <ul><li>Authentic multicultural literature =  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>one that is based upon fact (cult...
When diverse characters are portrayed realistically and authentically in fiction, <ul><li>Students’ attitudes about race a...
The Educational Benefits of Comics: <ul><ul><li>Goldstein’s (1986) study on vocabulary instruction resulted in student imp...
Research on Deaf Characters in Comics & Graphic Novels: <ul><li>What we know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The benefits of comics...
Methodology: <ul><li>Included my prior research on the portrayals and perceptions of deaf characters in adolescent literat...
<ul><li>The Sample :   Content Analysis Juan Miguel Aguilera,  Avatar Book 1: A Look into the Abyss , SAF Comics (2003).  ...
Findings: <ul><li>Limited to characters who had lost their hearing, not those who had been born deaf </li></ul><ul><li>Cha...
Findings:  Unrealistic portrayals <ul><li>Manuel Gomez, communicates with special glasses  </li></ul><ul><li>Avatar Book 1...
Findings:  Limited Role <ul><ul><li>minor deaf character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The story is about a boy who  </li...
Findings:  Deafness as a form of punishment <ul><ul><li>1. The Amazing Allegro, a famous Russian musician became permanent...
Findings: Realistic  <ul><ul><li>Maya Lopez, (aka Echo & Ronin)  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>debuted in  Daredevil  as ...
Artist/Creator David Mack <ul><ul><li>Although Maya’s character is not perfect, nor is she idealistic, in many ways her st...
Echo: Diversity <ul><li>biracial Latina Native American Indian who embraces her multiple languages and heritages </li></ul>
Echo: Communication <ul><li>equipped with several ways to communicate: </li></ul><ul><li>art and performance,  </li></ul><...
Echo feeling isolated: <ul><li>feels resentment towards being abandoned by loved ones. She appears to be a strong, indepen...
Echo’s Identity <ul><li>Deaf </li></ul><ul><li>Native American Indian & Hispanic </li></ul>
Echo ( Daredevil  &  New Avengers ) <ul><ul><ul><li>The Secret Invasion is here!  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have...
Comparing my research on  Comics and Adolescent Literature Portrayals Comics Adolescent Literature Deafness Pathological C...
In Adolescent Literature, there are numerous new publications with Deaf Characters but only a few in comics and graphic no...
33 Interviews on Blog <ul><li>Lois  Hodge- A Season of Change  </li></ul><ul><li>Doug Cooney-  Leading Ladies  </li></ul><...
Deaf Authors/ Professionals  <ul><li>Lois  Hodge </li></ul><ul><li>Rachel Chaikof </li></ul><ul><li>  J.G. Martinson </li>...
Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature  Are deaf characters being presented as culturally Deaf or as pathologically d...
Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature  Do these readers favor deaf authors over hearing ones? <ul><li>The Deaf parti...
Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature  How do readers perceive deaf characters?   <ul><li>Themes that emerged from t...
Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature  How do the participants’ responses and perceptions of deaf characters relate ...
Other Conclusions Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature: <ul><li>Participants made  more positive  comments about th...
Check out my Blog!  * Includes over 189 titles  (4 books added this morning) –  30 books from 2007-2008 *33 Author & Profe...
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Presentation Deaf Comic Book Characters

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Presentation Deaf Comic Book Characters

  1. 1. Deaf Characters in Comics , Graphic Novels , and Adolescent Literature Sharon Pajka-West, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Goals: <ul><li>To give an overview of my research study on Deaf Characters in Comics & Graphic Novels </li></ul><ul><li>To acknowledge the differences in portrayals of deaf characters by deaf and hearing authors </li></ul><ul><li>To share resources (websites, books, and articles) highlighting children’s/adolescent books with deaf characters </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research Questions: <ul><li>Are deaf characters being presented as culturally Deaf characters or as pathologically deaf and disabled? </li></ul><ul><li>Do readers favor deaf authors over hearing ones? If so, why? </li></ul><ul><li>How do deaf and hearing adult readers perceive deaf characters in adolescent literature? </li></ul><ul><li>How do the participants’ responses and perceptions of deaf characters relate to the check-off forms based upon the authors’ portrayals? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Problem <ul><li>Acquiring fictional books with deaf characters can be time-consuming and challenging. </li></ul><ul><li>Few scholars have conducted research on the topic. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of those even fewer have focused their attentions to adolescent fiction </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Research on the portrayals of deaf characters <ul><li>Lack of attention to the topic (Civiletto & Schirmer, 2000). </li></ul><ul><li>Limited empirical research (Burns, 1950; Guella, 1983; Krentz, 2002, Wilding-Diaz, 1993). </li></ul><ul><li>A lack of understanding regarding the representation of deaf characters in literature (Batson & Bergman, 1985; Bergman, 1987; Burns, 1980; Krentz, 2002; Panara, 1972; Taylor, 1974, 1976a, 1976b, Schwartz, 1980; Wilding-Diaz, 1993). </li></ul><ul><li>Deafness used as a literary device (Batson & Bergman, 1985; Bergman, 1987; Burns, 1980; Krentz, 2002; Panara, 1972; Taylor, 1974, 1976a, 1976b, Schwartz, 1980; Wilding-Diaz, 1993). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Influential Research: Literature Pertaining to Diversity and Multiculturalism in Adolescent Fiction <ul><li>Despite decades of research affirming culturally authentic children’s literature and the merits of multicultural literature, a coexisting body of research reveals the lack of culturally authentic texts (Applebee, 1992; Campbell & Wirtenberg, 1980; Ernest, 1995; Larrick, 1965; Sherriff, 2005; Taxel, 1986). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Authentic Literature <ul><li>Authentic multicultural literature = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>one that is based upon fact (cultural accuracy), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one that reproduces the crucial features of the original (cultural accuracy), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one that is true to the creator's own cultural personality, spirit, or character (cultural immersion). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For multicultural literature to be considered “authentic” it must include evidence that it is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>grounded in the accurate facts of the culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the authors have faithfully adhered to the culture in their literary interpretations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Dresang, 2006) </li></ul>
  8. 8. When diverse characters are portrayed realistically and authentically in fiction, <ul><li>Students’ attitudes about race and gender are affected positively (Campbell & Wirtenberg, 1980; Jetton & Savage-Davis, 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Students begin to understand a sense of ‘self’ (Campbell & Wirtenberg, 1980; Grice & Vaughn, 1992).   </li></ul><ul><li>Students show an increase in enjoyment (Smith, 1995). </li></ul><ul><li>Students who had been identified as low ability students showed an interest in books with diverse characters. Researchers discovered that these children’s reading levels had been misrepresented as grades lower than the students could read (Grice & Vaughn, 1992). </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Educational Benefits of Comics: <ul><ul><li>Goldstein’s (1986) study on vocabulary instruction resulted in student improvement on standardized test scores when students studied vocabulary from comics & cartoons. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wright and Sherman (1999) postulated that teachers should include comic books and cartoons in the classroom because they are: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>cost effective, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>have low-readability levels, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>are of great interest to students </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Research on Deaf Characters in Comics & Graphic Novels: <ul><li>What we know: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The benefits of comics with diverse characters are extensive for reluctant readers who seldom find characters like themselves. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What was happening: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>My students held impromptu gatherings about the comics they were reading in their spare time. As an acknowledged useful teaching tool and clearly of interest to my students, I investigated using comics and graphic novels in my classroom. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Methodology: <ul><li>Included my prior research on the portrayals and perceptions of deaf characters in adolescent literature as a catalyst </li></ul><ul><li>Collected titles of nearly a dozen comics & graphic novels </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzed books applying the Adolescent Book Content Analysis (ABCA) Check-off form (modeled after Schwartz’s (1980) ‘Criteria for Analyzing Books about Deafness’) to differentiate between the pathological and the cultural perspective of deaf characters </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewed Marvel Comics artist/creator David Mack </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>The Sample : Content Analysis Juan Miguel Aguilera, Avatar Book 1: A Look into the Abyss , SAF Comics (2003).   Batman Beyond: Hear No Evil (2002) Random House Books for Young Readers (May 28, 2002)   DC Comics, (1979). Justice League of America #163.   Elizabeth Laird and Pauline Hazelwood (illustrator), The Listener (1997) Graffix.   Marvel Comics Daredevil (1999-2003) (v2) #9-15 and #51-55. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Findings: <ul><li>Limited to characters who had lost their hearing, not those who had been born deaf </li></ul><ul><li>Characters were mostly white </li></ul><ul><li>Unrealistic portrayals </li></ul><ul><li>Limited Role of the Deaf Character </li></ul><ul><li>Only One Realistic </li></ul>
  14. 14. Findings: Unrealistic portrayals <ul><li>Manuel Gomez, communicates with special glasses </li></ul><ul><li>Avatar Book 1: A Look into the Abyss by Juan Miguel Aguilera SAF Comics (2003). </li></ul>
  15. 15. Findings: Limited Role <ul><ul><li>minor deaf character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The story is about a boy who </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>enlists the help of his deaf </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>neighbor when his grandmother </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>is hurt. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elizabeth Laird and Pauline Hazelwood’s graphic novel, The Listener (1997) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Findings: Deafness as a form of punishment <ul><ul><li>1. The Amazing Allegro, a famous Russian musician became permanently deafened by one of Green Arrow's sonic arrows in the original Justice League series. The act of losing his hearing puts him over the edge and he turns evil. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Shriek, the villain who uses his deafness as a shield in Batman Beyond: Hear No Evil exploits sound as his weapon </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Findings: Realistic <ul><ul><li>Maya Lopez, (aka Echo & Ronin) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>debuted in Daredevil as a love interest for Matt Murdock. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>now appears in the arc of the most recent issues of The New Avengers </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Artist/Creator David Mack <ul><ul><li>Although Maya’s character is not perfect, nor is she idealistic, in many ways her story is a realistic account of a deaf child growing up isolated from other deaf people and then later finding her Deaf identity and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>self-confidence to be </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>herself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>David Mack (pictured right) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Echo: Diversity <ul><li>biracial Latina Native American Indian who embraces her multiple languages and heritages </li></ul>
  20. 20. Echo: Communication <ul><li>equipped with several ways to communicate: </li></ul><ul><li>art and performance, </li></ul><ul><li>Indian Sign Language, </li></ul><ul><li>American Sign Language, & </li></ul><ul><li>lip-reading. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Echo feeling isolated: <ul><li>feels resentment towards being abandoned by loved ones. She appears to be a strong, independent woman who functions within the larger culture. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Echo’s Identity <ul><li>Deaf </li></ul><ul><li>Native American Indian & Hispanic </li></ul>
  23. 23. Echo ( Daredevil & New Avengers ) <ul><ul><ul><li>The Secret Invasion is here! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have the Skrulls infiltrated the Avengers? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is Maya Lopez the only one </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>with proof? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will she live to tell the tale? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All this and a major Avengers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>hook up! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Comparing my research on Comics and Adolescent Literature Portrayals Comics Adolescent Literature Deafness Pathological Cultural Gender Female (participants all male) Male (participants mostly female) Race Mostly White Echo- Biracial Mostly White 1 African-American 1 Asian- American Language Mostly Oral Echo- multilingual Most use ASL Authors Hearing Hearing Deaf (only a few in comparison)
  25. 25. In Adolescent Literature, there are numerous new publications with Deaf Characters but only a few in comics and graphic novels
  26. 26. 33 Interviews on Blog <ul><li>Lois Hodge- A Season of Change </li></ul><ul><li>Doug Cooney- Leading Ladies </li></ul><ul><li>Jean Andrews- The Flying Fingers Club </li></ul><ul><li>Ginny Rorby- Hurt Go Happy </li></ul><ul><li>Jean Ferris- Of Sound Mind </li></ul><ul><li>T.C. Boyle- Talk Talk </li></ul><ul><li>Penny Warner- Dead Man's Hand </li></ul><ul><li>Jodi Cutler Del Dottore- Rally Caps </li></ul><ul><li>Delia Ray- Singing Hands </li></ul><ul><li>Jamie Berke- About.com </li></ul><ul><li>David Mack- Marvel Comics' Daredevil </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah Miller- Miss Spitfire </li></ul><ul><li>Christine Harris- Mask of the Jackal </li></ul><ul><li>Rachel Stolzman- The Sign for Drowning </li></ul><ul><li>Elizabeth Boschini & Rachel Chaikof- Ellie’s Ears </li></ul><ul><li>Jacqueline Woodson- Feathers </li></ul><ul><li>Clint Kelly- Echo </li></ul><ul><li>J.G. Martinson- Deception’s Full Circle </li></ul><ul><li>Megan McDonald- Changes for Julie </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Colledge- Falling Into Fear </li></ul><ul><li>Janice Greene- Read My Lips </li></ul><ul><li>Eleanor Robins- Just Be Yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Tami Lee Santimyer-- actress </li></ul><ul><li>Josh Swiller- The Unheard </li></ul><ul><li>Steve Kluger- My Most Excellent Year </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Rowe- The Silent Time </li></ul><ul><li>Dandi Daley Mackall- Love Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Nadia Wheatley- Listening to Mondrian </li></ul><ul><li>Gina Oliva- Alone in the Mainstream </li></ul><ul><li>Meg Burden- Northlander </li></ul><ul><li>Teri Brown- Read My Lips </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Clare LeZotte- T4 </li></ul><ul><li>Myron Uhlberg - The Printer; Dad, Jackie & Me </li></ul>
  27. 27. Deaf Authors/ Professionals <ul><li>Lois Hodge </li></ul><ul><li>Rachel Chaikof </li></ul><ul><li> J.G. Martinson </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Colledge </li></ul><ul><li>Josh Swiller </li></ul><ul><li>Gina Oliva </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Clare LeZotte </li></ul><ul><li>Jamie Berke- About.com & Tami Lee Santimyer- actress </li></ul>
  28. 28. Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature Are deaf characters being presented as culturally Deaf or as pathologically deaf and disabled? <ul><li>The majority of the hearing authors presented the cultural perspective model. </li></ul><ul><li>The pathological perspective model was underrepresented in the books by the hearing authors; </li></ul><ul><li>yet, the majority of deaf authors included the pathological perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons why these deaf authors included more pathological perspective statements while the hearing authors included more cultural perspective statements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. lived experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. fewer deaf characters in books by deaf authors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. fewer ‘D’eaf authors </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature Do these readers favor deaf authors over hearing ones? <ul><li>The Deaf participants along with the participants as a whole preferred the books written by the hearing authors </li></ul><ul><li>as better describing realistic deaf people, </li></ul><ul><li>for presenting deaf characters adequately and realistically, and </li></ul><ul><li>for the authors’ portrayals of deaf characters matching their own perceptions of deaf people. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In general, the Deaf participants were more critical of the deaf authors while the familiar participants, although as a group preferred the books by the hearing authors, were more critical of the hearing authors. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participants mentioned their preference for a spectrum of deaf characters. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The books used in this study that were written by hearing authors included a variety of characters. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature How do readers perceive deaf characters? <ul><li>Themes that emerged from the Reader Response Surveys included the participants’ perceptions of these characters as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the “normal” curious kid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the egocentric spoiled brat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the advocate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>those dependent upon the majority culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>those isolated*** </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>those searching for their identities. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature How do the participants’ responses and perceptions of deaf characters relate to my analysis based upon Deaf Studies, Disability Studies and Queer Theory? <ul><li>A slight correlation between how the books rated on the Adolescent Literature Content- Analysis Check-off Forms and the Reader Response Surveys. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The books including higher percentages of the cultural perspective statements were perceived to be more positive by the participants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This may indicate a preference for those books including more cultural perspective themes. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Other Conclusions Findings: Research on Adolescent Literature: <ul><li>Participants made more positive comments about the culturally Deaf male characters , particularly… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ben Roper, Jeremy and Thomas of Of Sound Mind , and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harry of Apple is My Sign . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Although the participants were divided in their responses to the various female characters, all of the female characters were criticized … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>except for one minor culturally Deaf character, Susan…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>( but then, she was killed early on in the book – so what does that reveal? ) </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Check out my Blog! * Includes over 189 titles (4 books added this morning) – 30 books from 2007-2008 *33 Author & Professionals Interviews *Websites & Articles *Free Newsletter http://pajka.blogspot.com/ For Resources highlighting Comics and Adolescent books with Deaf Characters
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